Jan 062019

Over Labor Day weekend I went on a 6-day adventure involving car camping, foraging, hiking, scrambling, and a 120 mile bike ride home with camping gear in the BOB trailer. The featured destination was Lime Ridge, a place I hadn’t been to since a Boy Scout hike maybe 20 years ago. There is not much (especially current) info on the Box Mountain Lake or Lime Ridge route available online.

Belleamie cleans a King Bolete while Dia supervises

On Thursday afternoon, Belleamie and Dia picked me up after work and we headed north to the Sulphur Creek Campground. The campground was completely deserted even on a sunny Labor Day weekend; we got the best campsite in the place with a secluded tent area and private beach on the river. It seems like this campground has yet to be re-discovered after being closed for almost a decade. On Friday, we went up the Green Mountain Trail in search of huckleberries and King Boletes. We were successful in finding a large quantity of berries and several good-sized boletes.

Very sketchy log

On Saturday, I stashed my bike and parted ways with Belleamie and Dia. The crux of the entire trip was a log crossing right at the trailhead; I believed I had to cross the Suiattle river here per several online trip reports. Dia and Belleamie nervously watched me do this and expressed concern over my well-being. From there I had to bushwhack for about a mile until reaching the fisherperson’s path to Box Mountain Lakes. This path, although unrelenting in steepness, was in much better shape than I was expecting. It was fairly easy to follow and the brush had been trimmed. I chewed through the almost 4000’ elevation in about two hours, treating myself to abundant huckle and salal berries along the way. I still had plenty of daylight upon reaching Box Mountain Lake, so I decided to continue on another 700’ elevation to Indigo Lake (not labeled on the USGS Map, also known as Upper Rivord Lake). There was one other party camped at the lake before I arrived which was a bit of a surprise, nonetheless I found a lovely campsite perched a bit above the lake and with a gorgeous view of peaks towards the NE.

On Sunday, after a leisurely morning, I did a day scramble up to the top of Lime Mountain. From there I thought I would try traversing southwesterly along the top of Lime Ridge. I did this until reaching a point where I would have had to drop several hundred feet to get around some cliffs. Although that likely would have been possible, I instead decided to drop into upper Twin Lake, which turned out to be a bit tricky due to a band of cliffs that were not visible from the top of the ridge. Also tricky was scrambling up and over the ridge from upper Twin lake to Lower Rivord lake; as I learned later, a well beaten path connects Lower Rivord to LOWER Twin Lake, but I missed it because I didn’t drop into Lower Twin. I made it back to my camp at Indogo Lake and made dinner as night fell.

Repacked for bike mode

On Labor Day, I broke camp and swiftly descended back down the Box Mountain Lake trail. Based on info that I had gleaned from another party I met on Lime Mountain, I learned that there is another log available for crossing the Suiattle River that is just upstream of the site of the destroyed bridge on the Milk Creek trail, so I thought I would try that to avoid the bushwhacking and iffy log near the parking lot. This log worked great and it is located just around a bend upriver of the bridge site. Back at the parking lot, I retrieved my bike and repacked my stuff for biking mode. I was in need of a bath and had some time to spare, so I thought I would try making the short trek to Sulphur Hot Springs. However, these hot springs are very difficult to find and I had no success other than being teased by rotten egg smell. The Sulphur Creek Campground would have made a lovely place to camp for another night, however it was a 120 mile bike ride to home from here and I needed to break that up. I rode down the Suiattle River Road, which was somewhat horrible on the washboarded gravel parts, but smooth sailing on the paved sections. I rode to Darrington and had pizza and beer for dinner. By then it was getting pretty dark, so I found a spot to set up my hammock along the Whitehorse Trail .

On Tuesday, I rode the remaining 90 miles home via SR-530, Arlington, the Centennial Trail, Snohomish, some challenging backroads and arterials through Bothell, the Burke Gilman Trail, and Lake Washington Blvd. Before arriving home, I took a quick swim at Denny-Blaine park (No, I didn’t pack a swimsuit on this trip).

May 152015

Over the past fall and winter, Amie, Elza and I went on several trips to search for fine edibles.

Lake Cushman
In early October, we rented a cabin at the Lake Cushman Resort. It was the off-season and the place was deserted. We harvested a bounty of Chanterelles, both Yellow and White, a bunch of Lobster Mushrooms, and one large Sparassis crispa! We also went on a lovely day hike up staircase. On this trip, we discovered a delicious way of cooking mushrooms: dousing slices with olive oil and baking them on a cedar plank (next to the Salmon).

Chanterelling with Canadians
One of our AirBnB guests really wanted to go do something local with us, and we had been thinking about visiting one of our favorite mushroom patches along the I-90 corridor, so we all piled in the Pathfinder and headed up to our secret location near Rattlesnake Lake. We found a good amount of Yellow Chantrelles. The guests were from Vancouver BC and they seemed to really enjoy the trip. Elza rode in the backpack and helped spot mushrooms.

Undisclosed Lake
At an undisclosed location northwest of Snoqualmie pass, we set out on what was intended to be just a day hike. We were pleasantly surprised to find a healthy patch of Matsutake mushrooms. We gathered a bagful on the way up, arrived at our destination, then on the way down picked the ones we missed. We let Elza walk the last 1/2 mile down the trail; she did great except for one collision with a woody shrub.

Razor Clamming at Long Beach
Amie, Elza, & I rented a cabin at Shakti Cove Cottages and our friends Grace, Eric & Allie rented an adjacent cabin. We stayed for two nights and all collected our limit of 15 clams per person on both nights. Shakti Cove is a great place to stay for clamming, it’s walking distance to a beach that is separated from the main beach access by a large creek, so it doesn’t get a large amount of traffic. The clams we dug, although plentiful, were rather small compared to what we are used to. We also went for a hike at Leadbetter Point State Park, and to our surprise found a few nice patches of Matsutake!
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Another Chanterelle trip
The chanterelles seemed a little early on our previous visit to the location near Rattlesnake Lake, so we ventured out for a return visit a little later in the season. We found several good patches, some were already picked but still plenty to be found.

Chicken harvest
For our next harvest, we didn’t have to travel far at all. Our chickens, no longer the spring chickens that they once were, were not laying many eggs, while still consuming large quantities of feed and tearing up the yard. So with a heavy heart, we butchered the four chickens remaining in the flock. While we were at it, we also adopted two other old hens from others and processed them as well. Later we had a yummy chicken stewed in a red wine sauce for two days and cooked for about 6 hours.

Razor clamming near Grayland on MLK weekend
Over the weekend of MLK day, we made another trip to the coast in search of Razor clams. We headed down to Olympia on Saturday to meet up with our friends David, Alex, and Zoe; then we carpooled over to Greyland and drove out on the beach. The first spot we tried wasn’t all that fruitful, so we piled back into the car and drove down the beach a ways (where there were more cars parked on the beach). We had better luck in the second spot. Amie and I dug our limit of 15 clams each (we were pondering whether Elza was entitled to 15 clams of her own; the published rules are somewhat gray on the subject). Then we drove back to Olympia where Alex and David cooked us a delicious dinner, then we spent the night there before stocking up on artesian well water and then headed back north on Sunday.

Razor Clamming at Westport
We made yet another quest for Razor Clams in late February with our friends, Sherri, and Maya. We rented a vacation rental in Westport with beach access and spent two nights. Unfortunately the clams weren’t very prolific near the beach house, so we had to drive down to our previous spot close to Greyland. The clams were large but were more sparse and we really had to hunt for them. We got close to our limit both nights. Elza again had a great time at the beach riding on Owen’s back.
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Jun 302012

Amie & Morels

Amie and her Morels

About three weeks ago, Amie & I went hunting for Morels in an undisclosed location in Eastern Washington. It was a site near Leavenworth where there had been a forest fire last summer, and Morels like to grow in recent burned areas. We parked the car at a gated road, and spent the day hiking up the road and scrounging through the charred forest. The Morels seemed to be most prolific in the areas that had a mix of burned and non-burned ground, a mix of conifers and deciduous vegetation, and in a ravine or other semi-shaded area. By the end of the day, we had collected about 2 big grocery sacks full of the tasty morsels!

Then last weekend we returned to the same spot to explore the area further and to see if more Morels might have popped up in the same spots. We found that some of the previous patches had produced more morels, but our wider search for new spots turned out fruitless. This time we only collected only about ½ of a grocery sack. It seems that was a bit too late for collecting the mother lode.

Morels Drying

Processing the bounty in the dehydrator

We’ll be on the lookout for forest fires occurring this year, and plan to check out those areas next spring. So, you know, if you wanted to throw out a lighted cigarette out your car window this summer, I won’t tell Smokey Bear.

Dec 092011

Clamming on Long Beach
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Amie & I met some friends in Long Beach to go Razor Clam digging. Each year, the Department of Fish & Wildlife opens a limited number of weekends for open clam digs, and this year Thanksgiving weekend was one of them. Generally only the nighttime low tide is open for digging, I guess to give the clams more of an advantage; it also makes the experience of clam digging a little more interesting. More information on razor clamming from the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

We headed out Friday evening around 4:00 pm, just before it got dark. We lucked out on the weather; it was clear and calm, unlike the previous day when it was raining sheets sideways. On the first night, we caught a fair amount of clams, about 50 total among 4 of us with permits (15 clams per person per day is the allowance).

Some of us headed out again Saturday night. The weather was again favorable, but we only got about 20 clams before we managed to break both of the PVC clam guns that we were using. Next time, we are going to invest in some nicer aluminum ones.

Clam chowder was enjoyed by all.

Oct 292010

Processing Mushrooms

Processing our Bounty

Once again Amie and I went to the annual PSMS mushroom conference at Breitenbush Hot Springs, which I wrote about last year.

This year we struck the mother-lode of Matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare). And a good amount of Chanterelles (Cantharellus sp.). It was a very wet weekend, but that was okay because there were hot springs and a geothermally-heated cabin waiting back at the resort.

After returning home, we went to work processing our bounty for preservation. Actually, Amie did most of this work, taking two days off of work to complete this process. First, each muchroom had to be cleaned. The Chanterelles were then fried, placed in freezer bags, and then frozen in their own juices. The Matsutakes were either frozen whole or sliced and placed in the food dehydrator.

The Preservation process was almost more work than the collection process (and not nearly as fun), but now that this has been completed, we have mushrooms available for easy cooking for the rest of the year!